I’m Lisa’s other (and some would say better!!) half. She recently asked me if there was anything I wanted to write about for the site. I had a think and came to the conclusion that it would be highly unlikely that I’d be able to write about something that her readers would find even remotely interesting. But then inspiration took hold of me and gave me a right good shake!

My day job is a Learning and Development Consultant in the financial services industry, which basically means I train Financial Advisers for a living. So I thought maybe folks would be interested in reading stuff to do with family finances. Well, lets give it a go and you can let me know if you liked it and want more of the same!

Firstly I need to point out that this isn’t me giving you financial advice. It’s just me laying out some facts and ideas, which you might find useful. If you think you do need proper finical advice, a good place to start is the Money Advice Service. If you actually want to see a Financial Adviser, have a look at Unbiased.

The starting point looking at the family finances is to have a very clear picture of how much money is coming in versus how much is going out. Sounds quite simple but it’s not always easy to break down all of your expenditure. There are several ways to do this using spreadsheets and online tools some of which arenlt always easy to work.

Here’s a nice simple tool on Aviva’s website that’s really easy to use:

It asks for your income and then looks at your expenditure in two categories:

  • Essential spending
  • Optional spending

If you run the tool and find you’re spending more money than you earn, it’s time to start looking at where you can cut back on the optional spending. Having it all laid out on screen can really help with visualising where savings can be made.

Playing around with the figures will help you see what impact just a few small changes can have on your finances each month. It might not need a massive tightening of your belt; just a few savings here and there could make the difference.

However, if you’ve found yourself in debt please don’t bury your head in the sand. There’s help out there for you if you ask for it. A good place to start is the debt charity Step Change.

I hope you’ve found this useful. If so let me know through the comments section below. Also let me know if theres a particular topic you want to know more about e.g.

  • Understanding tax codes and how you’re earnings are taxed
  • How pensions actually work
  • How do protection polices like critical illness work
  • Anything else you want to know about